Democrats file bill addressing geriatric provider shortage

Over the last several years, the United States has seen a growing shortage of physicians specializing in geriatric medicine. Only about 7,000 U.S. physicians, or 1 percent, are certified geriatricians--far too few given that the population of older Americans should double by 2030.

Hoping to address this shortage, House and Senate Democrats have introduced a bill intended to produce more geriatric specialists. The bill, the Retooling the Health Care Workforce for an Aging America Act, expands education and training opportunities in geriatrics and long-term care for health professionals, direct care workers and family caregivers.

However, it's worth noting that the bill doesn't address one of the root causes of the geriatrician shortage, which is that these specialists aren't paid particularly well. Perhaps the marketplace will be forced to address this when the lack of such specialists becomes a painful problem for health organizations.

To find out more about the bill:
- read this Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report item